(Note to men: Although this article is written for women, think about the women in your life that might be blessed if you gifted them with time to spend with the women they love.)
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, one of the new trends in travel is women traveling together, knows as Girls’ Weekends or Gal Pal Getaways. This is a travel trend I wholeheartedly support! In fact, I just returned from an amazing 4 day to trip San Antonio, Texas with a group of women I dearly love. We have known each other for years; we have raised our children together, cared for our aging parents together, laughed and loved and prayed for one another, celebrated our children’s graduations and weddings together, and held each other up during our darkest hours of grief. These friends are truly a gift from God – absolutely priceless.
If you have women friends like this, then you know exactly what I mean when I say that being intentional to set aside time from our busy lives to spend together is both necessary and important. There is a deep and special connection women have with one another; whether we are friends or family. Women support and encourage one another in powerful ways. When several generations of women from the same family get together, we can pass down our family history, sharing great memories or favorite recipes that are special to our family. I have taught my girls how to make my Nana’s Christmas cut outs; a recipe she used since the days of rationing during WW2.
After these past 15 months of dealing with a world-wide pandemic that kept us apart, having the opportunity to be together in person with these women I love, to hug each other, to eat yummy food together (in restaurants- wahoo!) to laugh and cry and share what’s been going on in our lives and God’s faithfulness was so fun and so healing. When I dropped my dear friends off at the airport after 4 days of talking from sun up until the wee hours of the morning (and I’m an in-bed-by-10 gal usually), we still had topics we hadn’t addressed yet!
Want to have your own Gal Pal Getaway? Here are a few Tips.
Who to invite:
Look around at the women in your life. A Gal Pal adventure could be one like ours- we all met through our children’s school. Or, your Gal Pal group might be made up of family – grandmothers, aunties, cousins, daughters, granddaughters. Perhaps your group is women you work with, serve on a community board together, belong to the same club, run together, do yoga together, enjoy a book club together or sing together in your church choir. The key is that you have a common bond and enjoy spending time together.
What to do and when to go:
I have a group of 15 dear friends from a service club I belong to; we are planning a Gal Pal Getaway for this fall. I wanted to make sure I was planning a trip everyone would enjoy with fun activities and a time that worked for everyone. Needless to say, it’s quite a challenge to find a time that worked for 15 women with very busy lives, especially considering we live in Texas and fall in Texas is all about football - so the OU/Texas football game weekend was out of the question!
I created a simple online survey using Survey Monkey and put it on our chapter’s private Facebook page to find the perfect weekend and to get an idea of how far these ladies were willing to travel, how much they were willing to spend on their trip and what sorts of activities they wanted to do ( for us, it’s all about shopping, eating, drinking and chatting). Once I had the date, the budget, the activities, and how far women were willing to travel, I could find the perfect location for our trip and start working on activities and dining reservations.
Just like they say with real estate, it’s all about location. You want to chose the right location for what your group wants to do. Is everyone feeling exhausted and in need of rest? Then the right location might be a resort where you can lay by the pool, enjoy a spa treatment or 2, go for a peaceful hike, or catch up with one another with a cup of coffee by the fire. In that case, a resort like the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa (please see John’s video this week on the JW property), or the Four Seasons in Malibu, CA that has an amazing wellness program complete with yoga, healthy cooking classes and meditation/relaxation experiences, or an all-inclusive resort like Sandals which has 16 resorts from which to choose (John has a great video tour of our time at Sandals in St. Lucia last fall).
Does your group want to learn something new during the trip (maybe about what your club does- books, knitting, running, yoga, ancestry, etc.)? There are cruises and weekends at certain destinations that cater to these specific interests. Maybe your group wants to visit a cute, historic town to shop, do some wine tasting, eat in some fun restaurants and just hang out together. If that sounds like your group, you may want to rent a house in a town that specializes in Gals Weekends (yep- it’s really a thing now.)
Why plan a Gal Pal Getaway?
This one is easy. The ‘why’ is because being together with the important women in our lives enriches us. Women strengthen women. We know how to encourage one another. We know how to listen, really listen to other another. We know how to support one another, to share wisdom and offer another perspective to help solve a problem. Time together, away from home and children and responsibilities, gives us a fresh perspective on our own lives and gives us the opportunity to share family stories that need to be passed down from one generation to the next. And, of course, time away allows us to let our hair down - laugh and giggle and have fun. We come home relaxed and refreshed and ready to get back into the responsibilities of our lives. These times together with the women we love are sacred.
Remember the old adage, “If you do what you love, you never work a day in your life?” That is how I feel about my work as a travel advisor. I love helping women put together trips for their gal pals, because I know what these special trips mean to me. I love helping families plan family reunions, bringing together the grandparents, cousins, aunties, parents, children to hug one another again and laugh and make memories for a lifetime. I love to help couples plan a romantic getaway or an anniversary celebration. If there is anything I can do to help you plan a Gal Pal Getaway, a family trip or a romantic celebration, please call, text or email. I’d be honored to help. 817-865-3799
I’ll sign off with the words my girlfriends and I said to one another at the airport as we hugged good bye, “Until our next adventure.”